Noting that “December is a season of farewells,” University President Lee Bollinger made his final public appearance on campus at last month”s winter commencement ceremony. In his statement to the approximately 2,000 graduates in Crisler Arena, he proved to students that he knew as much about the social scene as education and politics, as he listed some of the places in Ann Arbor that he felt students would miss most.

Paul Wong
University President Lee Bollinger (upper right) shakes hands with a graduate following the winter commencement ceremony in Crisler Arena. It was the last public appearance on campus for Bollinger, who stepped down last month and will become Columbia Univ

Bollinger, who said a few days prior to graduation that he had yet to write his speech, made students laugh as he outlined what he believed to be a typical week”s schedule for seniors.

“I think it”s Mitch”s on Tuesday, Rick”s on Wednesday, Scorekeepers on Thursday, Touchdown”s on Friday and every night is Good Time Charley”s before you go out,” Bollinger said.

Many students found Bollinger”s remarks very insightful.

“It was great that he knew so much about our nightlife here and what we do to just relax,” said LSA graduate Larry Rubeck, adding that he believes Bollinger will be missed in Ann Arbor.

I”ve worked very hard here,” Rubeck said. “It”s hard to leave, but I”m a Wolverine for life.”

Naming about a dozen graduates, Bollinger singled out the accomplishments of these students, saying, “Every individual has a unique story to tell.”

Student speaker Stephanie Dionne, an LSA graduate, encouraged graduates to fulfill their potential in their professional and private lives.

“We live in a time when we know more about the world than ever before, and that means that our opportunities are boundless,” she said.

The commencement address was given by English Prof. Charles Baxter, a poet and novelist whose works include “The Feast of Love,” and “Shadow Play.”

Baxter told graduates that every well-developed fictional character has a goal and setbacks to that goal.

“You can”t have a story without forward movement. You can”t have movement without a solid belief,” Baxter said, adding that every graduate should have a plan after graduation and should expect to encounter setbacks.

“Everyone here today should have a story, and the livelier the story, the better,” Baxter said.

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